Kurt Saindon is just as familiar with humor as he is with sleeping outside. From his sales point along Tom McCall Waterfront Park, he peppers passersby with an assortment of jokes. His goofy antics are part of his pitch to sell Street Roots newspaper, because, he says, he prefers his customers to be at leisure as he enthusiastically engages with them about the content of the paper and the joys of being a human. Spend time around Kurt and you will immediately become aware of the good-natured charisma that he brings to every conversation.
The corner of NW Lovejoy and 11th Avenue where Starbucks is located doesn’t quite pick up foot traffic until noon, when the sun finally hits that side of the pavement. The tall Pearl District buildings make it a fairly shady corner and according to Jason, the Street Roots vendor who sells there, “the windiest corner in Portland.” He wears a jacket, gloves and scarf to sell the paper, because even on a nice day the shade can get chilly. Jason is new to this corner, less than a month in, so he is still trying to make himself at home.
If you have been short on good conversation for a while, head to NW 23rd Avenue and Thurman Street to buy a Street Roots. Terris, the vendor that sells on this corner in front of Food Front, seems to have a talking point for anything, whether it be theories of eco-psychology, gaming , how to end homelessness, or recommending your next good read. At the onset of a conversation with Terris, his articulate speech and keen sense of self are striking- this man knows he is a born thinker and intellectual, and he’ll get you on his side of that argument in minutes.
Lorraine “Rain” Duchalard, sits down for her interview not to talk so much about herself, but to talk about her customers. To say thank you to the people she’s known who have helped her, and to Street Roots, where she has worked selling the newspaper for a little over a year. And a special thanks to Frank Cobb, another vendor, who, when she was just starting out, offered her some words of advice.
Street Roots vendor Mark Brown stands out from the crowd as he sells newspapers at the Hollywood Library. His infectious laugh and his eagerness to meet new faces might draw you in, but what will first catch your eye is his bright red Santa suit and free candy canes.
Larry Hill Jr., the Street Roots vendor at Whole Foods in the Pearl District, is a man with a tumultuous past and a future in which he hopes to flourish with inner strength and calm. After undergoing 10 days of intense self reflection, he is determined to act, as he puts it, “more like water and less like wind.”
Charles Krossman is an Oregon native who, when asked to describe himself, says, “I like to hunt, fish and build cars.”
Charles grew up on a busy farm with his siblings and he always found himself gravitating toward his father’s mechanic shop. He helped out with minor tasks and chores, but soon advanced to more challenging projects. He started to not only fix car parts, but also make them. He says that he built a hot rod motor at the age of 12, a feat he still remembers with pride.
Our Friends Speak About Street Roots
I firmly believe that Street Roots was largely responsible for keeping the fate of inmate moms and their children on the minds of Oregonians. Because of Street Roots' in-depth reporting and tireless advocacy, the Oregon legislature overturned the Dept. of Corrections' decision to de-fund the Family Preservation Project at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville. Thanks to Street Roots, the Family Preservation Project is alive and well today helping inmate moms build healthy bonds with their children- Brian Lindstrom, Filmmaker